Bellingham skilled nursing center has 23 cases of COVID-19

SEATTLE (AP) — The coronavirus continues to spread in Washington state and a Bellingham health care center was especially hit hard.

On Monday, Boeing announced it was shutting down its Seattle-area production facilities for two weeks. Health officials reported Sunday there have been at least 95 coronavirus deaths in Washington state and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases.

Shuksan Healthcare Center, a skilled nursing center, had 29 new cases confirmed on Sunday, according to the Whatcom County Health Department. The Bellingham Herald reports 23 of the new cases were residents while six were Shuksan employees.

The new cases bring the total number of ill Shuksan residents and employees to 32 when added to the three confirmed cases — all residents — announced by the health department on Saturday.

“The Whatcom County Health Department recognizes the significance and impact of this situation. We are working with Shuksan Healthcare Center to do everything possible for all patients, their families and staff,” said Mark Raaka, emergency preparedness specialist for the health department said in a release on Sunday night.

The ill residents were being cared for at Shuksan.

State and local leaders continue to urge people to stay at home and practice social distancing, but not everyone is following the advice. People have hit the trails, parks and beaches despite warnings.

King County Search and Rescue is now asking people to avoid hiking so that its volunteers don’t have to respond and use their valued personal protective equipment if called.

“Every face-to-face interaction is an opportunity for the #coronavirus to spread and impact those most at risk,” King County and Seattle public health officials said on Twitter.